Ivanhoe Mines has amassed 400,000 tonnes in ore grading from the underground ore production at the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in the past month. This tonnage, according to local media, was 18% higher than the 339,000 tonnes mined and stockpiled in February.
The 400,000 tonnes comprised 364,100 tonnes grading 5.52% copper from the Kakula Mine, including 100,000 tonnes grading 8.70% copper from the mine’s high-grade centre, and 36,000 tonnes grading 3.78% copper from the Kansoko Mine.
The project’s pre-production surface stockpiles now contain approximately 2.56 million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade ore at an estimated blended average of 4.60% copper. Contained copper in the stockpiles increased by approximately 21,500 tonnes in March – to a cumulative total of more than 117,000 tonnes.
Kamoa-Kakula is on track to substantially exceed the 3 million tonnes of high-grade and medium-grade stockpiled ore, holding more than 125,000 tonnes of contained copper, that the 2020 pre-feasibility study projected would be stockpiled prior to the planned start of processing in July 2021.
Kamoa-Kakula also set a fresh monthly mine development record in March, with an advancement of more than 3,100 metres, bringing total underground development to approximately 38.6 km – around 13.5 km ahead of schedule.
Phase 1 copper production from the Kakula Mine is scheduled to begin in July 2021. Kakula is projected to be the world’s highest-grade major copper mine, with an initial mining rate of 3.8 Mtpa at an estimated early average feed grade of more than 6% copper, ramping up to 7.6 Mtpa in Q3 2022.
Phases 1 and 2 combined are forecast to produce up to approximately 400,000 tonnes of copper per year. Based on independent benchmarking, the project’s phased expansion scenario to 19 Mtpa would position Kamoa-Kakula as the world’s second-largest copper mining complex, with peak annual copper production of more than 800,000 tonnes.